Vic West resident and Merchant Navy veteran Bill Emberly is askiing Esquimalt council for permission to install a monument in Memorial Park in the township

On a quest to remember

Merchant navy veteran seeking installation of Battle of Atlantic marker in Esquimalt park

At night, the lights on Bill Emberly’s merchant navy cargo ship were blacked out, to ward off attack from German u-boats skulking in the ocean.

It took three harrowing weeks for convoys of ships to transport goods and personnel from Canada to Britain during the Second World War.

The sun is now setting on the aging veterans of Canada’s merchant navy fleet, as well as those military personnel who played a vital role in the Battle of the Atlantic during the war.

For that reason, Emberly, who joined the merchant navy as a teen, is on a quest to create a Battle of the Atlantic monument that would be unique to the Island.

It would pay homage to Canada’s civilian merchant navy, the Royal Canadian Navy vessels that escorted the merchant ships and Royal Canadian Air Force bomber planes that patrolled the skies above.

“It was a six-year campaign, night and day, chased by submarines and everything else,” Emberly recently told Esquimalt council, when he requested to place the monument in the township’s Memorial Park.

“Britain was starving to death. The war could not have been won without that convoy fleet.”

The black marble memorial, valued at $7,000, would not cost Esquimalt taxpayers anything, Emberly said. He said he has people lined up to pay for the cairn and the installation of the monument’s base.

“It’s almost too late for even thinking about this,” said Emberly, 84. “The average age of the merchant seaman is 87 years.”

Between 50 and 60 merchant seamen, on average, pass away every year, he said.

“This is a thing that we should never forget; there was 60,000 to 70,000 men who died (in the battle).”

The monument would feature engraved images of a Canadian merchant navy cargo tanker, a navy corvette ship and an air force bomber.

“I think that we should be honouring all those who have helped make our life what it is today,” said Coun. Tim Morrison.

Esquimalt municipal staff have been asked to bring back a report to council, as well as seek input from the township’s parks and recreation and heritage advisory committees.

“I think it’s a worthy thing for us to consider, and we need to figure out how we might be able to do that,” Coun. Lynda Hundleby said.

 

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Unhealthy disagreement sees three First Nations chiefs take government to court

Claim and counter-claim: B.C.’s First Nations health department and administrator end up in court.

Saanich intersections rank as Island’s three worst

Intersection of Admirals Road, McKenzie Avenue, and the Trans-Canada Highway had the most crashes

New tutorial ‘Whales in our Waters’ launched by BC Ferries

A new tutorial has been launched for mariners and the general public about whales in the Salish Sea

Head-on collision on Prospect Lake Road shuts down road

Prospect Lake Road reopened to traffic at approximately 4:15 a.m. Tuesday

Saanich firefighters rescue bear cub stuck up a tree

Family Day was eventful for cub, firefighters

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Super snow moon set to rise across B.C.

It is the biggest and brightest moon of the year

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

West coast group campaigns for seal, sea lion harvest

‘Salmon are going the way of the buffalo unless we do something’

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Most Read